Rocked by Him(7)By: Lucy Lambert
Not only was he rather round, but tall as well. I had to crane my head back uncomfortably to look up into those beady eyes of his. They glinted down at me.
"The pleasure is all mine, I'm sure," Bud said, sitting up on his desk and crossing one leg over the other. The move pulled his trousers up, revealing the long white socks struggling to pull free from their garters.
A little voice inside my mind kept saying, I told you so.
"So, you have a degree in marketing, sweetie?" Bud said.
Despite my jacket covering them pretty well, his eyes again strayed to my breasts. I crossed my arms, hoping the move looked natural enough.
Just think about the money, I told myself. All that money. Enough to afford rent in Manhattan.
That didn't stop the bile from coming up my throat. I swallowed it back down, and even contorted my face into something like a smile.
"With honors," I said, "I've done a lot of research on Styrex, and I really think I'll be able to help you to..."
"Of course you will."
He put his hand on my arm. I looked down at it. He squeezed, making little wrinkles in the sleeve of my jacket. My skin crawled, and that ball of bile forced its way back up my throat. This guy looked older than my dad!
And this close, he smelled. It a slightly sour smell, covered up by what had to be half a bottle of some rancid cologne.
"Why, each graduating class is even prettier than the last!" he said, grinning. I pulled my arm from his grip.
How many graduates had he been through? Was this why I'd gotten the job? I wondered what the turnover rate was around here.
He started saying something else, but then his phone buzzed. My shoulders slumped with relief when he spun on his desk to grab it.
"Yeah?" he said, his forehead wrinkling as he listened to the reply. His eyes flicked to me as he covered the receiver with one sweaty palm. "Just go on out and ask Lucinda for your file. Nice meetin' you, sweetie!"
I had to resist the urge to back out of the room, wondering if he was about to jump me from behind.
The air itself seemed to change as I left his office. Cooler, lighter. Infinitely refreshing compared to the miasma of old perv smell.
When I closed to the door behind me, Lucinda tapped my arm. It seemed she'd finally gotten the best of all those calls and emails. The lines around her eyes had disappeared, and the blood had returned to her face. A pretty woman.
"Is he always...?" I asked, letting my question remain implied in case anyone else was listening in.
Lucinda nodded, "Always. Worse. Look, I'll do my best to make sure you two don't have to interact very often. I can't bear to watch him mess up another girl. Here's your file for the day. Your cubicle is straight down there. Third one on the right. Welcome to Styrex."
She pointed down one lane of grey cubicles even as I hefted the file folder. It was a lot of work. More than I could do in one day, I knew.
As I walked down to my cubicle, I thought that a lot of work right now might be a good thing. I could really throw myself at it. If I did well enough, maybe I'd come to someone else's attention and get a promotion or something.
And it would keep my mind off Jerry.
I pulled out my chair, the castors whisking softly against the plastic desk mat. I hit the power button on my computer and entered in the login information I found on the first page inside the folder.
I worked all the way through the day, completely missing lunch and all the various fifteen minutes breaks I was entitled to. Not that I really cared. I wasn't really hungry. And if I did feel a bit peckish, all I had to do was bring Bud's fat face to mind and the desire instantly left, replaced by slight nauseous sensation.
In fact, I got so into looking over the copy for an ad of Styrex's latest plastic wonder that when the phone on my desk rang I nearly fell out of my seat. It took my brain a moment to register what I was hearing.
"Oh!" I said, grabbing the receiver and jamming it between my ear and shoulder.
"Hey, sweetie! First day going okay?"
It was Bud. I swallowed as I glanced around, wondering if I should tell him that this was a wrong number. I relented, realizing he'd probably had Lucinda patch in the call. She'd probably get in trouble if I said that.
"Yeah. So far, so good..."
"Great! Workin' hard or hardly workin'? That's what I always say, right?"
"Sure..." I said, squinting at the clock on my monitor. It was a few minutes shy of five! Cool surprise flowed through me as I tried to figure out where those hours had gone.
"Listen, sweetie, come and see me in my office before you head out for the day."
I wanted to say no. But I also didn't want to get fired. Especially on my first day.